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    How to Install a Nest Learning Thermostat | by Thomas Smith | Do-It-Yourself Home Automation | Feb, 2021 – Medium - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Photo by Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash

    Getting frustrated with constantly changing the schedule on your old-school thermostat? Or maybe you never learned to change it in the first place and its been stuck on 73 degrees for the last year.

    Either way, traditional thermostats arent ideal. Unless you take the time to update them continually (at least once per season, when the weather changes), theyre inefficient and tend to waste power by running your heating and air conditioning unnecessarily.

    For many homeowners, smart thermostats are a better choice. According to a study by Googles Nest division, smart thermostats can save homeowners between 10% to 15% on heating and cooling costs. Over the course of several years, those savings can be quite significant. Smart thermostats also allow for remote control of your homes temperature from your phone, and many thermostats automatically switch the HVAC on and off when you arrive home or leave for the day.

    Googles Nest Learning Thermostat can be a great choice for a smart thermostat in your home. Ive heard of other people using and enjoying the Ecobee thermostat (which is backed by Amazon), as well. One of the biggest advantages of the Nest Thermostat is that its relatively easy for many homeowners to install. I recently installed my own Nest Learning Thermostat. The whole process took me about 45 minutes.

    Heres how I installed my Nest.

    Quick caveat: Installing a thermostat requires working with electrical power and making modifications to your home. Make sure that youre comfortable doing this before proceeding. If you feel uncomfortable in any way, always hire a licensed electrician to assist with your installation.

    First, I located the circuit breaker for my HVAC system.

    You always want your system to be switched completely off before adding a thermostat or making other changes. I flipped my circuit breaker, and then checked to ensure that the system wasnt operating my setting my thermostat to different settings, turning the fan on manually, etc. I confirmed that it was fully off.

    I removed the cover from my ancient thermostat.

    I then pulled up the Nest app on my phone, and selected the option to add a new device. I scanned the QR code on my thermostat, and the app brought up various screens to walk me through the install process.

    At this point, Nest says to check to make sure there arent any high voltage wires in your own system. According to Nest:

    If your thermostat is labeled 120V or 240V or has thick wires with wire nuts, your system is high voltage and isnt compatible with the Nest thermostat. Do not connect the Nest thermostat to high-voltage wires.

    If you suspect that your system might be high-voltage, stop immediately and call an electrician.

    Mine wasnt, so I moved ahead. First, I took a picture of the old thermostat, in case I need to install it again in the future (not likely!).

    The next step was to use wire labels provided in the box with my thermostat in order to label the wires coming out of my wall. There are lots of different wires to choose from, so follow the instructions and check the panel on your old thermostat to label them properly.

    I unscrewed each wire.

    And for each one, I added one of the little sticky labels to identify it properly.

    When I was done, all of my wires were labeled and disconnected from the old thermostat.

    Nest says to wrap the wires around a pen or pencil so they wont fall back into the wall.

    Next, I unscrewed the old thermostats base and removed it from the wall.

    Next, I slid the old thermostat over the wires and off the wall. It went right into the trash.

    Heres what my wall looked like with the old thermostat gone.

    Now the old thermostat was gone, and it was time to install the Nest Learning Thermostat. The first step was to install the new Nest base plate.

    I threaded it over the exposed wires and positioned it on the wall.

    Theres a small bubble level built into the base plate (you can see it in blue), and I used it to make sure the base plate was aligned properly. Next, I used a screwdriver and the screws provided by Nest in order to screw the base plate into the wall.

    Next, I matched each wire label from the earlier step with the properly labeled attachment point on the base plate of the Nest thermostat. This is simple, because youre just matching the exact code on the wire with the proper attachment point.

    Each homes thermostat is different, so you might have different labels than I do. Again, follow the instructions in the Nest app to complete your specific installation.

    Heres how the baseplate looked once all my wires were connected. I tucked the main wire back into the wall so that it was basically flush with the base plate.

    The final step was to plop the new Nest thermostat face onto the baseplate. It snapped easily in place. I switched the circuit breaker for my system back on, and the thermostat came to life!

    Here it is fully installed. I followed the setup instructions in the Nest app to connect it to my homes Wifi network and start its smart features.

    Ive been using the new thermostat for about a month, and it works great. Its been really nice to be able to control the thermostat from my phone when Im upstairs. The thermostat quickly learned my routine of turning the heat down at night, and started to do that automatically.

    I havent gotten my next electrical bill yet, so I cant verify the cost savings, but already Ive found the Nest thermostat helpful. And again, the installation process was pretty painless. I also got a second Nest to install in another heat/cool zone in my home, and I expect the install process will go even faster next time.

    If youre looking for a smart thermostat thats relatively easy to install and can potentially save you a bunch of money on heating and cooling costs check out the Nest Learning Thermostat.

    Read more:
    How to Install a Nest Learning Thermostat | by Thomas Smith | Do-It-Yourself Home Automation | Feb, 2021 - Medium

    The Best Home Thermostat for Efficient Heating and Cooling – BobVila.com - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Thermostats have come a long way from those early models with manual temperature dials that may or may not accurately reflect the rooms actual temperature. Todays thermostats are highly efficient. Many are programmable. Some connect with smart-home systems for remote control through a smartphone app.

    The best home thermostat depends on the users wants and needs and whether the home has a Wi-Fi network. Ahead, learn what factors to consider when shopping for a new thermostat, and find out why the following models are top options for many homeowners.

    Thermostats are available in three basic types: manual, programmable, and smart. A new thermostat can cost as little as $20 to as much as $300 or more for a high-end thermostat that comes with a boatload of bells and whistles. Most homeowners want a thermostat with features that help save on utility costswithout getting too complicated.

    Manual thermostats are the least expensive and most straightforward to operate. Most come with an LED screen and a couple of buttons that raise and lower the room temperature. They usually include a manual switch that allows the user to switch to heat in the winter, cool in the summer, or a fan to circulate air whenever.

    A programmable thermostat allows the user to set heating and cooling schedules based on activity in the home. For example, a homeowner can schedule the furnace to come on at 6 a.m. on weekdays to heat the house before the family wakes up to get ready for work and school. The heat or AC may start up again 30 minutes before the family gets back home. Depending on the thermostat, scheduling may be limited to repeating a seven-day cycle or extend for an entire month.

    The new kids on the block, smart thermostats allow users to adjust a homes temperature remotely through a corresponding smartphone app. These thermostats include a wide range of features and functions. Some could be very useful; others less so. When you look at smart thermostats with tons of functions, consider your lifestyle and choose accordingly. Dont pay for features you wont use. Here are some extras you might see:

    Keep in mind that all these extra features require a little extra power. Manual and programmable thermostats require only a wire that connects the thermostat to the HVAC system, but smart thermostats often require an additional common wire (C-wire). The extra voltage is necessary to power a smart thermostats added functions, such as geofencing and Wi-Fi connectivity. New homes often come with C-wires already installed. In older homes, a professional may need to install a C-wire before the smart thermostat goes in.

    It might be tempting to run out and buy a smart thermostat that promises energy efficiency, but dont pull out the credit card until youre sure its the right pick for your home. The best home thermostat is compatible with your existing heating and cooling system, comes with the features needed to make life simpler, and fits within your budget, which includes allowing for professional installation costs if necessary.

    When it comes to choosing the best thermostat, one size does not fit all. Some thermostats control only heat, others control only cooling, and others control both. The type of thermostat required depends on the type of HVAC equipment. The following tips will help determine which type of thermostat you need.

    Smart thermostats may require users to place sensors in various rooms in the home to sense activity, monitor the temperature, and adjust the heating and cooling accordingly. These sensors, which communicate wirelessly with the thermostat, are a vital part of learning thermostats that record activity in the home for a period of time and then schedule heating and cooling to fit the familys patterns. Sensors may also monitor other factors, including allergen and humidity levels in the room, and send alerts to the users smartphone.

    The best thermostat is one thats easy to see and program. Many of todays thermostats come with large LED screens and easy-to-follow prompts that help set the temperature and program a heating and cooling schedule. But some smart thermostats only include a small screen and limited direct programming capability. Instead, the user must control most functions through the corresponding app on a smartphone, tablet, or PC.

    Replacing an existing manual or programmable thermostat with a new manual or programmable model is relatively simple; the existing wires simply connect to the new thermostat. Installing this type of thermostat is often a DIY project.

    Replacing an existing smart thermostat with a new one may also be a DIY project. But if a C-wire is not available, running a new one is a job for an electrician. Installing a smart thermostat is only the first part of the task. After the new thermostat is on the wall, the user must download an app and then follow the prompts to connect the thermostat to the homes Wi-Fi network. Most of the time, this is a relatively simple task if the user has a basic knowledge of routers and networks.

    Thermostats are functional, not decorative. Still, many of todays thermostats have sleek digital displays and look more appealing than their older counterparts. Some allow users to download a chosen background image onto the display. Most are low-profile so they dont stick out far from the wall. A few of the newer models are designed for recessing in a wall stud space, making the front of the screen nearly flush with the walls surface for a sleek, clean look.

    The best thermostats must be well made, dependable and accurate. Any extra features may benefit some, but not others. While the following home thermostats vary in features and functions, each one is a quality instrument that will help homeowners cut down on heating and cooling costs. One is sure to be an asset in your home.

    Photo: amazon.com

    The Google Nest Learning Thermostat takes note of repetitive tasks, such as when home dwellers tend to turn the temperature up or down, and remembers the information to adjust the temperature automatically. This smart thermostat also includes geofencing so that the temperature is just right when the family gets home without wasting energy when the house is empty. A dial display shows the temperature in large digital numerals that are clearly visible from across a room. A blue backlight indicates the house is cooling; a red one shows its warming up. Its compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant so users can activate the thermostat with voice commands.

    The Google Nest requires a C-wire for installation and a Wi-Fi network for use. Sensors to activate additional features are sold separately.

    Photo: amazon.com

    No need to spend a lot of money to update an old thermostat to a new programmable model. The Honeywell Home RTH2300B1038 5-2 thermostat offers weekday and weekend programming with up to four program changes per day, all at an affordable price. With a programmed daily schedule, this thermostat will run only when family members are home, saving money and energy when theyre out. Users further adjust the temperature with the press of a button on the thermostat.

    The Honeywell thermostat does not require a C-wire for installation, but it does require two AAA batteries (not included) to provide the additional power necessary to run the digital display. Installation instructions are included.

    Photo: amazon.com

    Those looking for the most basic thermostat need look no further than the Emerson NO110 Non-Programmable Single Stage Thermostat. One button raises the temperature and the other lowers it. The Emerson thermostat goes from heating to cooling with the flip of a switch. An easy-to-read LED screen shows the desired room temperature and the current temperature. This no-frills thermostat is well suited to homeowners who want to set and change the temperature by themselves without the need for programs or Wi-Fi connections. It doesnt need a C-wire. Just follow the included step-by-step installation instructions for a relatively simple DIY chore.

    Photo: amazon.com

    The Honeywell Home Wi-Fi Thermostat comes in well below the average $200 price tag of most smart thermostats. For an affordable price, it brings some of the most popular smart thermostat options. For starters, it runs a weeklong program with up to four changes per day. The Honeywell syncs with a range of smart-home devices and apps, including Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Assistant, so users can control the temperature directly on the thermostat or remotely from an app-connected device.

    The app pings when its time to replace air filters, when the Wi-Fi is down, and when the homes temperature reaches (or falls below) a preset level. The thermostat comes with installation instructions and requires a C-wire. A home Wi-Fi network is necessary for operation.

    Photo: amazon.com

    Homeowners looking for a midrange smart thermostat that offers easy programming, remote operation, and geofencing may want to check out the Google Nest Smart Home Thermostat. It integrates with the Google Home app on a smartphone, laptop, or PC. Geofencing uses GPS technology to shut off heating and cooling when the user leaves home and start up the thermostat again when family members return. Users can program a weekly heating and cooling schedule to save on utility costs without adjusting the thermostat manually.

    This midrange Google Nest thermostat can send important notifications about the HVAC systems status to a smartphone. The app walks users step by step through DIY installation. Keep in mind that A C-wire is required.

    Photo: amazon.com

    For uniform comfort throughout the home, the ecobee3 Smart Thermostat comes with three room sensors that monitor the temperature in the most-used rooms and send information to the central thermostat. If a room gets too hot or too cold, the ecobee takes appropriate action. Sensors can also detect when rooms are in use and trigger the thermostat to adjust the temperature accordingly. The thermostat is compatible with up to 29 additional sensors (sold separately).

    The ecobee integrates with multiple smart-home systems and smart apps, including Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT (If This, Then That). Users can configure the app to track energy usage and offer tips for conservation.

    Both standard and zoned HVAC systems are compatible with ecobee3s smart thermostat. Instructions for installation, which requires a C-wire, are available in the app. The ecobee requires an installed home Wi-Fi network to operate.

    Photo: amazon.com

    For those looking for both on-screen and remote thermostat control, the Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat might be just the ticket. On the Sensi Touchs large screen, users can check the temperature at a glance and make adjustments with the tap of a finger. Like other smart thermostats, it integrates with smart-home systems, including Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple HomeKit.

    The Sensi Touch monitors humidity and, with some configuration in the corresponding app, sends an alert via smartphone if the humidity rises out of a preset range. It also monitors heating and cooling patterns to generate energy usage reports that help the homeowner make changes to save energy. This smart thermostat works with most HVAC equipment and requires a C-wire for installation. A home Wi-Fi network is also necessary.

    Photo: amazon.com

    At about two-thirds the size of comparable models (4.92 inches high by 3.7 inches wide), Honeywell Homes T9 Smart Thermostat wont take up much room on the wall or stick out like a sore thumb, but it still offers high-end smart features. Geofencing adjusts the temperature when family members leave home, which is a money and energy saver. Individual sensors (sold separately) help further adapt heating and cooling to the familys needs.

    The T9 thermostat follows a preset heating and cooling schedule or learns the familys routine and comes up with a program to fit. It integrates with several apps, including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung SmartThings to offer remote or voice control of the HVAC system. The T9 comes with installation instructions and requires an installed C-wire as well as a home Wi-Fi network.

    Photo: amazon.com

    With the large digital display on the Honeywell Wireless Thermostat, users can easily see the temperature from across the room. The display also shows the day, date, time, outdoor temperature, and indoor and outdoor humidity levels.

    Users can program the Honeywell Wireless, either directly on the display or through the smartphone app, to follow a seven-day schedule, which saves money and energy. Save even more with the optional energy-saving mode.

    This smart thermostat syncs with smart-home systems, including Google Home and Alexa. Installation instructions are included, and a C-wire and home Wi-Fi network are necessary to run the thermostat.

    Here are a few of the most common questions about the latest thermostats.

    Probably, but some additional wiring may be required to install a smart thermostat if the home is more than five to 10 years old.

    A smart thermostat connects to the homes wireless network to relay information and allow the user to control the HVAC system remotely or by voice commands.

    Yes. Smart thermostats must connect to the Wi-Fi in a home in order to communicate with the users smartphone.

    Programmable thermostats can be smart or not-smart. Select one that can schedule at least seven days of heating and cooling and will allow you to override the schedule by adjusting the temperature up or down from the thermostat itself.

    If your home already has a C-wire, replacing an existing thermostat with a smart one is relatively simple and most likely a DIY project. If the house doesnt have a C-wire, a professional should install one.

    The features that make the thermostat smart, such as geofencing, voice command, and control through a smartphone app, wont work when the internet is out. But, you can still control the thermostat manually directly on the unit.

    The rest is here:
    The Best Home Thermostat for Efficient Heating and Cooling - BobVila.com

    Improving The Efficiency Of Your Home, Series 2: Heating, Cooling, (Hot) Water Part Five – CleanTechnica - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    One of the ways to slow the advance of climate change is to reduce your personal carbon usage. While we cant efficiency our way to climate neutrality, we can buy ourselves time by slowing the rate of carbon emissions and conservation, as Negawatts are often the cheapest form of clean energy available (and the least polluting). Also when you have less energy to replace, its cheaper to do so (i.e. if you cut your energy use in half, then only half the renewables are needed to make it sustainable).

    Our homes can seem like a monolithic entity they need heat and or cooling, they use water and heated hot water, they consume electricity, and need lighting and plumbing. But the structure plus our actions can alter how much carbon is produced by several orders of magnitude. Two equivalent homes standing side by side could have 5 to 20 times the difference in carbon pollution produced in daily operation. A 100+ year old leaky home with inefficient appliances and high electricity use creating dozens of tons of CO2 a year can stand next to a Passivhaus or Net Zero home, which has very low or even no carbon emissions whatsoever. And there is a huge continuum in between these extremes. Many existing homes that are inefficient can be upgraded to various degrees to reduce their carbon footprints.

    This will be a four part series:Series One: Insulation And Air SealingSeries Two: Heating/Cooling And (Hot) WaterSeries Three: Plug LoadsSeries Four: Building For Net Zero Or Better

    The standard disclaimers apply, all advice is for informational purposes only, CleanTechnica is not responsible for any damages caused by inaccurate information or following any information provided, consult professional expertise before making any modifications to your home, all information is subject to change as our knowledge evolves, and the coffee may be hot.

    This article series is focused on detached and semi-detached homes, but many of the concepts are applicable to all building types.

    You can save energy by setting your thermostat to a lower temperature in heating season and a higher temperature during cooling season. This of course will test your familys comfort limits. Many people with programmable and smart thermostats set their houses to be cooler or warmer at night (winter/summer respectively) and also when they are away at work, then have them automatically adjust back to the desired temperature when they are awake or back at home. These daily temperature setbacks will save a few percent of energy because greater temperature differences between indoors and outdoors equalize more quickly (thanks to thermodynamics). For many types of heating this is fine, but for heat pumps and geothermal the time to equalize plus the extra wear and higher rate of change will eat into their efficiency advantage so this is something you should avoid or only go with slight setbacks of couple degrees at most.

    Adjust dampers on ductwork to heat or cool specific parts of your home to your comfort requirements. If seldom used rooms can get by with less conditioning then you can adjust them for less hot or cold. If dampers are not installed in your ductwork they can be retrofitted, though some systems do not have balancing abilities, which may be the case for radiator type systems. After making adjustments, observe the results for a few days to determine their steady state effects between changes.

    Check what areas of your home are being conditioned. If you have a dirt crawlspace or other unused spots and there are duct separations then fix them so you get conditioned air where you want it to be (though some conditioning can sometimes be necessary depending on layout, consult a building science expert if necessary). If you have storage rooms that dont need conditioning, then add dampers to the ductwork and close them. For many vent designs simply closing the vents is only partially effective. If you have an older home with gaps to outside that are leaking air, then find a way to seal them. This is common in very old homes with brick or stone foundations, homes built before building science understood the impacts of air sealing, balloon framing with gaps to the basement/attic, crawlspaces that were intentionally vented due to obsolete building codes that were later amended when building science advanced, and so forth.

    If you have extra rooms you wish to condition, calculate whether its a good idea or not. Garages, sheds, sun rooms, and other auxiliary spaces can be very energy intensive to condition because they are often poorly insulated (or not insulated at all), have high amounts of low R-value glass or leaky garage doors or thermal bridging or metal walls/roofs, and in addition are often very poorly air sealed. They can amazingly have a higher load to condition than your entire house. Consider carefully if this is worth it when deciding whether or not to spend energy or carbon conditioning them. Get an expert to run numbers if you dont have them handy so you have the knowledge needed to make the best decision.

    If your current appliances are not very efficient, it can sometimes be cost effective to replace them before they reach their natural end of life. This should be determined by running the numbers compared to higher efficiency equipment and determining the payback period if you replace it. If you are good with numbers you can run this yourself, or you can find energy efficiency auditors in many countries who can run the numbers for you. If its not cost effective to replace it early, the calculus will change when the current equipment wears out. The cost difference between lower and higher efficiency new equipment will typically pay for itself very quickly in energy savings, but think ahead and make decisions now so that when your equipment wears out you are not caught flat-footed trying to figure out numbers when you have no heat or no air conditioning. Dont disregard the possible issues due to planned obsolescence on new equipment. All this being said, even if the numbers dont favor early replacement for economic reasons, if you have the cash consider doing so for the environmental benefits if they are significant. And of course look at more environmentally friendly heating and cooling options, as replacing a high carbon heat source with a lower carbon or better yet carbon neutral electricity should be the ultimate aim.

    Your local grid may not be very renewable, and if youre upgrading equipment solely for environmental benefits it is worth figuring out how clean your current electrical mix is and its potential cleanliness in 10/20/50 years and using it in your planning. Bear in mind that any appliance decisions you make will lock you in for possibly decades until the equipment needs replacing. If you have or plan to install solar or wind on your property (or community renewables) this will also affect your decisions.

    Often HVAC professionals will use rules of thumb to determine the sizing for new equipment. Do not fall for this, they typically lead to massive over-sizing which can cause the aforementioned comfort problems and accelerated equipment wear and higher equipment prices. Also avoid buying the same size as your current heating equipment, as it may already be vastly oversized, plus a higher efficiency unit will end up even more oversized than what you have now. For example, a 60K 80% efficient furnace puts out 48K of heat, but a 98% efficient 60K furnace puts out 58.8K of heat, 22.5% heat more for the same fuel but even more oversized. You can get proper sizing information from an energy audit or a heating and cooling analysis done by a proper professional. Dont fall for half-assed calculations made out of convenience.

    Sometimes HVAC professionals recommend leaving the blower motor running 24/7 to help with comfort complaints or for other purposes. This is a waste of energy and adds wear to the equipment, but can provide better air mixing and a placebo effect on HVAC performance if there is no problem. If there are cold spots that it is addressing, then there is a problem that needs fixing. Whether its improperly balanced ductwork, oversized equipment, separated ducts, duct leakage, blocked vents or insulation/air sealing/thermal bridging problems or something else, it is best to determine the actual cause of the issue and fix it, rather than pay a perpetual energy (and carbon) penalty on a band-aid.

    If you are replacing equipment you may also want to consider getting an ECM blower motor, which is far more energy efficient at varied speeds. At full power it will be about the same efficiency as a standard motor, but if you have a two-stage or variable furnace it will save a great deal of electricity at partial load. In a single-stage non-gas furnace, an ECM motor will still help reduce electricity consumption as the primary heat source will handle more of the full load. Also, ECM motors have less startup surge and are often more amenable to being run off generators or battery backup in case of local grid failure. If doing so, make sure the electricity has a clean enough sine wave to avoid damaging the motor.

    It is worth reading the heating and cooling sections of my Disaster Preparedness articles Part One and Part Two.

    Many companies recommend annual maintenance on new equipment, but it is outside the scope of this article to make recommendations on this, so do your own research.

    In the US it is common to have HVAC equipment and ducts in the ceiling. This is incredibly inefficient as this ductwork is outside the building envelope (as these roofs are often vented). The stack effect causes heated air to rise, so even if the ceiling is insulated the heat/air conditioned air is above where the humans reside and the ductwork is often leaky, meaning hot and cold air end up where they least need to be. The ideal fix its to remove and relocate the HVAC appliances to inside the conditioned envelope of the house and air seal the ceiling. This is often not practical in an existing building, and the vents can be buried under the insulation, making it difficult to air seal. Do your best on this one and even consider making the roof unvented by insulating the rafters instead (making it a cathedral ceiling) after consulting professional advice to avoid destroying the roof with rotted rafters or sheathing over time. If designing a new house, do not install HVAC equipment and its ducting in the attic.

    Stay tuned until next week for Part Six Water and Hot Water Conservation

    Continue reading here:
    Improving The Efficiency Of Your Home, Series 2: Heating, Cooling, (Hot) Water Part Five - CleanTechnica

    What are heat pumps and why would you want one? – Albuquerque Journal - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... .......... ..........

    SANTA FE, N.M. I was visiting our friends Joe and Alice Hardy in their home in coastal southern Maine a year or so ago. They have solar panels and wood stoves but, as Joe explained, they also have a heat pump.

    What are heat pumps? I asked. Joe tried to explain how heat pumps work. They work a lot like refrigerators, you know, he said, assuming I knew all about how refrigerators work. I honestly didnt understand what he was saying at the time or its implications.

    So, what are they and how do they work? As I have since learned, heat pumps are an efficient home heating and cooling system that can save you money. They work because, believe it or not, heat can be extracted from cold air.

    Joe was right. Our refrigerators are a lot like heat pumps. But a heat pump has a condenser unit that is outside your house. It yields both hot and cold air, and it also has an indoor unit that passes the hot or cold air into your home. Heat pumps use electricity and refrigerant to move heat from one location to another. A heat pump extracts heat from the air, transferring it to the coolant. When the coolant is compressed, heat is produced. Then the coolant is transferred to the indoor unit, where it releases heat.

    ................................................................

    What heat pumps do is provide heat, air-conditioning and humidity control. In the cold time of year, they move heat from outdoors to your home. In the hot time of year, they move heat from your house to the outside. And, as Consumer Reports states in its buying guide, they are often more cost-efficient than conventional furnaces, which generate heat by burning fossil fuels. The most common are air-source systems. They have both an indoor and an outdoor unit. The refrigerant circulates between the two units absorbing and releasing heat. But Consumer Report says that, if your winter temperatures are below 10 to 25 degrees, you will need an auxiliary heating system.

    When this concept is applied to residential heating and cooling applications, it works because, in a heat pump, less energy is used to produce the hot or cold air than the heat or cold generated. And heat pumps work well for both applications. They also improve indoor air quality since fresh air is introduced into your home.

    It seems counterintuitive, but even extreme cold has heat energy, and the heat pump extracts it and transfers into your home. However, they are not as efficient in cold temperatures, since more heating than cooling is required. So, in colder climates, heat pumps often require a back-up heating source. And make sure your home is well-insulated before you consider a heat pump. If you have a super insulated home, they could work very well.

    There are three basic types: air source described above, water source should you have a nearby body of water, and ground source or geo-thermal. They all gather heat from different sources. The cheapest and easiest is air-source, but they need to be customized for maximum efficiency. Both ductless and ducted systems are available and they can be multi-zoned. All systems sold have an EnergyGuide label that explains their heating and cooling efficiency.

    You can get a lot of information about heat pumps at energy.gov, or you can just ask your plumber, like I did.

    My plumber referred me to Bob Deeds of Santa Fe Home Services. Bob moved here from Phoenix. He told me, Almost everyone in Phoenix is using heat pumps for both heating and cooling. They are up to three times more efficient than conventional systems.

    He installs heat pump systems regularly. But he cautioned, here, you may need auxiliary heat and heat pumps are electric, so heating bills may be higher. Most people who put them in here do so for cooling because conventional cooling systems require so much maintenance.

    Bob believes that, as we transition more from fossil fuels, heat pumps will play a much bigger role and that, eventually, heat pump systems will be automatically placed in new homes.

    Joe Hardy runs his heat pump with solar. According to Joe, Efficiency Maine, a statewide program, hopes to help install 100,000 residential heat pumps in the next five years.

    If it is time to replace your old furnace, you might consider a heat pump. Heat pumps can play a large role in reducing global emissions as we move from a carbon-intense economy. The bottom line is that, if they work in Maine, they can work even better here in a much warmer climate.

    Judith Polich/For the Journal

    Judith Polich, a longtime New Mexico resident, is a retired attorney with a background in environmental studies and is a student of climate change. She can be reached at judith.polich@gmail.com>href=http://judith.pol>judith.polich@gmail.com

    Read the rest here:
    What are heat pumps and why would you want one? - Albuquerque Journal

    Ways to conserve energy during the winter months – KELOLAND.com - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) As the winter cold snap continues to move through the Midwest, energy cooperatives are urging members to conserve energy.

    The Southwest Power Pools (SPP) region is experiencing a generation shortfall due to historic low temperatures along with limited wind resource output from North Dakota down to Arkansas according to a Facebook post by Oahe Electric Cooperative.

    Oahe Electric is asking their members to help reduce the energy demand while these frigid temperatures continue by limiting showers, drying clothes, grain handling and drying, baking and other high energy demand activities during this cold snap.

    Here are some of the other ways you can conserve energy in your household, according to energy.gov:

    The sunlight is a good way to add some extra warmth to your house. Open curtains on south-facing windows during to day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Make sure to close these curtains at night though, to reduce the chill from cold windows.

    Using window treatments and coverings can help to improve your energy efficiency and reduce the amount of cold draft throughout your house. Apply a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape a clear, plastic film to the inside of your window frames, making sure they are tightly sealed to the frame to reduce infiltration. Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that continue to feel drafty after weatherizing.

    Adjusting your house temperature is an easy way to reduce your energy usage. When you are awake and home, set your thermostat as low as comfortable. When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back ten to fifteen degrees for eight hours to save around ten percent on your heating and cooling bills. It is recommended to use a smart or programmable thermostat, which can make it easy to set back your temperature.

    If you have a heat pump, maintain a moderate setting or use a programmable thermostat that is designed to be used with heat pumps.

    Detect air leaks around the utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulating ceilings and unfinished spaces. You should also add caulk or weather-stripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows.

    Make sure you are maintaining your heating systems and schedule service for them. Replace you filter for furnaces and heat pumps once a month, or as need. When using wood-and pellet-burning heaters, make sure to clean the flue vent regularly, along with cleaning the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically.

    Use can reduce heat loss from your fireplace by keeping the damper closed unless a fire is burning. When you use the fireplace, open dampers in the bottom of the firebox or open the nearest window slightly and close the doors into the room, while lowering the thermostat setting to between 50 and 55 degrees.

    If you never use the fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue to reduce heat loss. If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows the warmed air back into the room. You can find out more ways to improve fireplace efficiency at energy.gov.

    Lower your water heating costs by turning down the water heater temperature to the warm setting (120 degrees F).

    Read more:
    Ways to conserve energy during the winter months - KELOLAND.com

    Why geothermal is a hot trend in new condos – CBC.ca - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Hello, Earthlings!This is our weekly newsletter on all things environmental, where we highlight trends and solutions that are moving us to a more sustainable world.(Sign up hereto get it in your inbox everyThursday.)

    This week:

    Why geothermal is a hot trend in new condos

    Building an energy hub on an artificial island

    Ontario has fewer Canada jays, likely thanks to climate change

    Many condominiums being designed and built right now in Canada are greener than their predecessors not just from the ground up but also deep down. That's because many are turning to fossil fuel-free geothermal or geoexchange technology for their heating and cooling.

    While most geothermal systems in the past 40 years have been installed in single-family homes, those in the industry say growth in the market is now driven by condominiums.

    "That market is increasing and actually increasing very, very quickly right now," said Stanley Reitsma, president of the Ontario GeothermalAssociation.

    Geoexchange is a type of electric heating and cooling that draws heat -- and cooling -- from the ground. (Note: While "geothermal" is the more commonly used term, "geoexchange" is preferred in the industry because it's less likely to be confused with geothermal energy, a different technology for power generation.)

    In the past five years, the proportion of condos with this type of electric heating has more than doubled to five per cent in Ontario, Reitsma estimates.

    Lloyd Jacobs, general manager of FortisBC Alternative Energy Services, which has installed geothermal systems in dozens of multi-residential buildings in B.C., said there is "a huge demand" for alternative heating systems in large buildings that might have been heated by fossil fuels or baseboard heaters in the past.

    Traditionally, a challenge for geothermal energy is the high cost of digging and installing the borefield that is, the liquid-filled underground loops that store and supply the heating and cooling to the system.

    But Martin Luymes, vice-president of government relations for the Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, said those upfront expenses are now offset by savings from things like lower energy and maintenance costs in as little as three to five years for large buildings.

    Luymes and Reitsma said there are a few reasons for that and for why condos might want to install geoexchange systems now.

    They include:

    Green building regulations. Many cities are tightening building standards for efficiency and emissions. For example, the Toronto Green Standard is on track to require new buildings to have close to zero carbon emissions by 2030. Reitsma points out that's not too far away, so many builders want to learn and gain some experience with geoexchange systems now. Similarly, B.C.'s Energy Step Code aims to make all new buildings "net-zero energy ready" by 2032, prompting many condo developers to look for solutions, Jacobs said.

    New ways to pay. Builders now have an alternative to paying the upfront infrastructure cost themselves third parties such as FortisBC Alternative Energy Systems and Toronto-based Diverso Energy will build and operate the borefield, then charge a monthly or annual service fee over decades to the condo owners. This way, "the developer gets to offload the risk and the costs associated with geothermal," said Jon Mesquita, Diverso Energy's chief operating officer. In B.C., such utilities are regulated and there are regulatory incentives for signing up with them.

    Cheaper cooling and more leasable space. Reitsma said a big difference between condo buildings and smaller buildings is the cooling requirements. Highrises usually require bulky, expensive cooling towers. Because geoexchange systems cool as well as heat, they eliminate the need for cooling towers. That often frees up rooftop space that can be used for penthouse suites, rooftop gardens and other amenities. In multi-use buildings, Jacobs said, heat captured from commercial spaces during cooling can often be used in residential parts of the building.

    Interest in and adoption of geoexchange isn't even across the country. Luymes said that's partly because the emissions reductions and therefore the incentive to switch away from heating with fossil fuels are greater in provinces with a clean grid.

    He suggested that could change in the future as provincial governments work to decarbonize their electricity grids.

    Given the current rock-bottom prices for natural gas, he said, "geoexchange probably won't become a predominant or default technology in our industry ever unless and until supportive policies by the government are implemented."

    Emily Chung

    Last week, Jade Prevost-Manuel wrote about the relative lack of rooftop solar installations in Canada compared to other countries and some of the reasons.

    A number of you pointed out that one disincentive in Canada is our electricity bills have a lot of fixed charges, such as distribution and transmission.

    Rochelle Jackson wrote: "I've looked into this and if we were to put solar panels on our home and generate our own power, we would still have to pay all those other charges, regardless of how much power we use from the grid. Where is the incentive for homeowners to pay for panels when the bulk of the bill they now pay will still arrive every month?"

    There are also some risks with solar in urban areas.Christine Brown wrote: "We have a south-facing roof on our Toronto house, and would gladly install solar panels, except for one problem. In many neighbourhoods in the city, additional floors are constantly being added to existing residential structures. As there are no real restrictions to prevent this, any solar panels we might install could be rendered useless should our neighbour to the south decide to add another story. Urban planning and licensing need to be part of the solar energy strategy."

    Some of you also noted that utility-scale solar is much cheaper than rooftop solar.

    Robert Macinnes wrote: "Community-built fields of collectors are far more efficient in terms of labour and cost. Each municipality should offer its citizens a chance to buy shares in a large solar array. This has been realized the world over with very satisfactory results."

    There's also a radio show! As the rescue in Uttarakhand, India, unfolds after deadly flooding that followed part of a glacier breaking away, scientists are questioning whether climate change was the cause. This week, we explore cascading climate impacts of glaciers, and what can be done to help keep people safe. Listen to What on Earth on CBC Radio One on Sunday at 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m. in Newfoundland, orany time on podcast orCBC Listen.

    Denmark is the largest oil producer in the European Union, but the country plans to phase out fossil fuel extraction by 2050. As part of its transition strategy, the Danish Energy Agency is building an artificial island in the North Sea to gather and distribute green energy from hundreds of offshore wind turbines to countries in Europe. The energy hub, billed as the first of its kind in the world, will be 80 kilometres offshore and cover at least 12 hectares -- the size of nearly 15 Canadian football fields. In the first phase, about 200 wind turbines will generate five gigawatts of energy, or enough to power three million homes. Later, the plan is to expand that to 12 gigawatts, or enough to power 10 million homes. The Danish Energy Agency announced an agreement earlier this month to build the hub as a public-private partnership, although the island itself will be majority-owned by the government. It is scheduled for completion by 2030.

    The number of Canada jays in southern Ontario is decreasing because of more frequent freeze-thaw days as a result of climate change, according to recently published research.

    The birds' winter food stock was compromised when fall temperatures fluctuated. The food would defrost, grow bacteria and in some cases become inedible.

    And that had an effect on the birds' reproduction and population numbers, University of Guelph researchers found in a study recently published in the scientific journal Global Change Biology.

    "If your food is being spoiled, you have less food that you can devote to survival and reproduction," said Alex Sutton, who was a PhD student at the University of Guelph when he co-led the study with Ryan Norris, an associate professor in the university's department of integrative biology.

    "What seems to be happening is that they need to decide either to survive or to reproduce," said Sutton, now a post-doctoral fellow at Kansas State University.

    If the warming pattern in the fall continues to affect reproduction and food supply, the birds could become locally extinct from Algonquin Provincial Park and other southern Ontario ranges, said Sutton.

    Canada jays are known for storing their food which can be anything from berries to roadkill meat in nearby trees for the winter.

    However, when their food supply degraded with the freeze-thaw weather, the non-migratory birds produced fewer young or hatchlings in poorer condition, Sutton said.

    "On average, the number of nestlings has declined over time, or at least in years where there's unfavourable fall conditions," he said.

    And that has long-term implications, according to the study with data spanning almost 40 years.

    The study looked at the birds in a small part of the park, which is about 280 kilometres northeast of Toronto. However, the Canada jay population that has been studied in the park has ranged from a high of 85 to now between 40 and 50 depending on the year, Sutton said.

    "Reproduction was really the key thing that was promoting this decline in Algonquin."

    The study used bird population numbers from 1980 to 2018, as well as environment data recorded in Algonquin Provincial Park since 1977 to look at the effects of the fluctuations in temperatures on the bird population and their food supply.

    Between 1980 and 1996, which had 10 years of above-average freeze-thaw cycles, the researchers found that the birds' numbers dropped significantly.

    Although there were fewer above-average number of freeze-thaw cycles and more breeding success in later years, the birds' numbers never rebounded from "a period of poor environmental conditions that occurred several decades prior," according to the study.

    David Bird, a retired professor of wildlife biology at Montreal's McGill University, said the amount of detailed data included in the study is impressive but the results are troubling.

    "There's still lots of challenges out there," he said. "Climate change is very worrisome."

    Sutton and Bird believe the effects of climate change on the birds' food supply could eventually push the species further north.

    The Canada jay can be found in every province and territory, but little is known about the effects of climate change on northern populations.

    The study said citizen science databases, like Christmas bird counts, "help to fill this gap in our knowledge and be used to estimate population trends at more northern latitudes." The bird is important to many Canadians, so much so there's a campaign led by Bird and others, like Norris, to name the Canada jay the country's national bird.

    Sutton said it's important that we find out more about the Canada jay.

    "I think it's really important that we try to understand how this species is actually responding to climate change throughout its entire range," Sutton said.

    "This could be a really key point to understanding how future population declines or even changes might occur with changing climate."

    Stephanie Dubois

    Are there issues you'd like us to cover? Questions you want answered? Do you just want to share a kind word? We'd love to hear from you. Email us atwhatonearth@cbc.ca.

    Sign up hereto getWhat on Earth?in yourinbox every Thursday.

    Editor: Andre Mayer | Logo design: Skdt McNalty

    Follow this link:
    Why geothermal is a hot trend in new condos - CBC.ca

    Everything you always wanted to know about heat pumps but were afraid to ask – Block Island Times - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Solar Initiatives (tSI) heat pump subsidy program has proved to be very popular. Over 40 island families have signed up or are ready to learn more. tSI is offering up to $6,000 to offset the cost of a home heat pump installation. That sounds great, but what is a heat pump and how does it work?

    Some heat pump facts:

    1. A heat pump does not generate heat; rather it moves (pumps) heat from one place to another, for example, from outside to inside your home. Because it does not generate heat, it is much more efficient regarding energy consumption than the old resistance type electrical heating systems.

    2. Not surprisingly then, a heat pump system has two major components: the pump, which is located outdoors and an air-handler (which many folk call a minisplit), which is located indoors.

    3. The outdoor unit contains a fan which blows air across a coil. Thus heat is transferred to the fluid in the coil. Then a condenser condenses the fluid making it even hotter and pumps it indoors.

    4. At that point the indoor unit goes to work blowing air across the now fluid, heated coil and into the rooms of your home.

    5. The fluid that conveys the heat is usually a refrigerant, thus necessitating licensed installers.

    6. The connection between the outdoor unit and the indoor one are two pipes, usually about one inch in diameter. Often these pipes are hidden in a soffit for aesthetic reasons.

    7. Now one of the magical things about this heat pump system is that it can work backwards! When the direction is reversedit takes heat out of your house and pumps it outdoors. So one heat pump system is a heater in the winter and an air conditioner in the summer.

    8. And while cooling your house in the summer, it condenses moisture which is typically drained outside via--wait for it--a drainage hose.

    9. Now heat pump systems are generally much more efficient than other heating sources. But when the temperature drops down below 10 degrees F, its efficiency declines. For homes with an existing heat source, the Solar Initiative recommends maintaining that system for use on extremely cold days.

    10. Although heat pump systems use pre-manufactured components, the exact sizing and configuration needs to be customized to each home and the owners needs and wishes. Once COVID allows us to resume proposals, contracts, and installations we will do so, but it may be some time before we can install systems in every home that wishes one.

    Now lets talk about the subsidy. If the equipment you order for the installation at your home equals or exceeds $6,000 you will receive the full subsidy of $6,000. If not, then you will be eligible for a two thirds subsidy of the installation up to a cap of $6,000. However, you must contact me by email at pappas.anthony@gmail.com before March 31st to be on the subsidy list. Subsequently, CoolEnergy will make a proposal which you will be free to accept or reject.

    David Reidy of CoolEnergy is our installer. He will be contacting everyone on our list as soon as health and safety factors allow.

    For more information, feel free to call me at 508-272-8822.

    See the original post:
    Everything you always wanted to know about heat pumps but were afraid to ask - Block Island Times

    Flores Construction: Specialists in Window and Door Installations and Home Renovations Latest News on The News Front – The News Front - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Everyone wants a home or work environment thats enjoyable to be in. However, some spaces fall short of our ideal with draughty doors, windows that rattle in bad weather, or other such common issues.

    Flores Construction offers a variety of construction-based services in the Baltimore, Maryland area. Whether you are fully renovating your space or simply installing new doors and windows, you can rely on the talented and friendly Flores Construction team to provide you with high-quality workmanship and first-class customer service. With their help, you can instantly update your home or workspace and make your money stretch further for the amazing results you get.

    Professional, affordable, durable

    If youre searching for stylish new window and doors, or perhaps want to complete a bigger remodeling project for your home or office, then look no further than Flores Construction, Baltimore. The company offers reliable and professional window and door installation services to meet every requirement.

    For years, the Flores Construction team have been helping homeowners and business owners select and install top quality windows and doors that are suited to every style and budget, all the while consistently offering great value for money and exceptional customer service. The company offers a variety of different types of glass for their window installations, such as clear, frosted, tinted, or even etched. This ensures that there is something to suit every customers unique sense of style and privacy or security needs.

    When it comes to doors, Flores Construction once again always strives to meet your design, efficiency and security requirements in your home or office. From start to finish, Flores can guarantee an exceptional service; every team member has the knowledge and professional expertise to perform tasks safely and efficiently, and will carry out the necessary work with utmost respect for you and your property.

    A wise investment

    Flores Construction knows that replacing draughty old doors and ill-fitting windows is a great investment in your home or place of business. By doing this, you can not only easily update your space on a budget, you can also:

    So, if youre in need of door replacement Baltimore, MD or window installation Baltimore, MD, reach out to the team today!

    More information

    Flores Construction is an expert renovation company based in Baltimore, MD, specializing in window and door installations. For more information, you can visit https://floresconsinc.com/. If you would like to request a free quote or arrange a no-obligation consultation about your design options, you can email [emailprotected] or call the team on (410) 705 2590.

    Source:https://thenewsfront.com/flores-construction-specialists-in-window-and-door-installations-and-home-renovations/

    Link:
    Flores Construction: Specialists in Window and Door Installations and Home Renovations Latest News on The News Front - The News Front

    How to find where cold air is coming into your house and how to fix it – KCTV Kansas City - February 16, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) Having your heating bills rise in this extreme cold is almost unavoidable, but there are ways to lessen that expense.

    Two energy efficiency representatives, one from electricity supplier Evergy and one from natural gas supplier Sprire, walked us through a house to highlight those places and solutions.

    I like to work from the bottom and go up, said Evergys Nicholas Newport, move the same way the air does, from the basement into the attic.

    Newport said one thing to look for is cobwebs.

    Wherever you see cobwebs is actually where the air is moving in and out of the house, Newport explained.

    If you have an unfinished basement, you might notice them in the corners of the ceiling. That means you should add some insulation on those upper walls

    The basement windows we looked at were filled with cobwebs and on closer inspection, there was light coming through gaps in the wooden window frames.

    You can feel that air coming in and now you can see the light coming in, Newport said as he held his hand up to the window.

    The way to fix that is with window caulk or low expanding foam.

    Another culprit is the pipes, starting in the basement then working your way up.

    When youre thinking about air infiltration coming into your house, its coming in from outside and going up through your house and to your attic. And the leading spot for that actually is the bathroom. Newport said.

    Those gaps should be filled with an expanding foam spray.

    Once upstairs, check your doors. Feel for air. Look for light coming through the sides or bottom.

    Spire energy efficiency representative Lemartt Holman suggested a test that involves nothing more than a piece of paper.

    If I simply open the door and I place a piece of paper in, [then shut the door], and Im able to easily pull it out, thats another opportunity for insulation, Holman described.

    Weather stripping, including door sweeps for the base of the door, can accommodate even canted door frames in a house that has settled over many years

    When you screw it into your door, you can adjust the angle of it, Newport clarified.

    Until you get to the hardware store for that, theres the quick short-term fix of shoving an old towel up against the bottom of the door.

    Then there are the windows.

    Youve probably heard about the heat-sealed plastic that can seal windows. You might not want it on windows through which youd escape a fire, but there are other windows you might not think about.

    Newport noticed a decorative back door with windows.

    On your door here, you have a lot of single pane windows. And this actually get very cold, he noted. To touch it felt like reaching into the refrigerator.

    Thats why a storm door is important, but its also where that plastic works well.

    Newport said the plastic can go on either side of the window. Pick the side less likely to get paint damage, which is a possibility when removed. If you want the edges less visible, consider putting it on the outside.

    And you put on this tape right around the edges here, attach the film to it, cut it to size and use a blow dryer to make it tight, he demonstrated.

    Another option is heavyweight curtains.

    Holman said its also a good idea to double check the windows with sashes to be sure they are securely closed.

    One of the ways that youre able to stop airflow from coming into your home is to make sure that your windows are completely locked, pressing completely to the top, and then locking these, it will help to keep the insulation engaged, he said.

    Also, be sure your screen is switched to the storm if you have one. It seems obvious, but some of us might have neglected that.

    Spire and Evergy both have programs that offer assistance for bills and rebates for audits and repairs.

    *During the winter months, your heat will not be turned off for non-payment. However, the payment is not forgiven, and you will need to come up with a payment plan by Spring.

    *Spire and Evergy do offer a Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which provides federal funding to assist families with maintaining or restoring heating services. You can find more information on whether you qualify and whom to contact in each state here.

    *Evergy participates in a program called Dollar-Aide. The money comes from individual customers to help fellow customers who might be struggling. The funds are delivered not directly through the utilities but through local social service agencies who work with those in need of funding for their heating, cooling and water bills. Click here to find out how to donate.

    *Spire has a similar program called DollarHelp. You can donate here.

    *Evergy is currently offering a free ecobee smart thermostat for enrolling in a program that allows the utility to adjust your thermostat settings remotely during times of high use throughout the region. There is a $50 charge for installation. You can find more on that limited time offer here.

    *On the Missouri side, Evergy and Spire work jointly with low income families who are interested in an energy efficiency assessment. Its essentially a home walk-through that can also now be done virtually. There is no charge if you qualify. The home energy audit team will leave you with some energy efficiency materials such as low flow faucet aerators and LED light bulbs. Information can be found here.

    *The U.S. Department of Energy has a list of all low-income weatherization and subsidy programs offered throughout the nation by state and county. That can be found here.

    *In both Kansas and Missouri, the two utilities have a joint program with no income restrictions in which they connect you with a contractor to do a thorough evaluation of the home and install improvements such as insulation. The cost of the service must be paid by customers, but rebates are offered by the utilities to offset the cost. Contact the utility's customer service for more information.

    Follow this link:
    How to find where cold air is coming into your house and how to fix it - KCTV Kansas City

    Solar air conditioners: How do they work and how much can I save? – finder.com.au - January 20, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Regular air conditioners are known to be something of an energy hog, drinking power to cool down or heat up your house. So how could a solar air conditioner help?

    A solar air conditioner is an air conditioner that runs off of its own dedicated solar panels, rather than one that's hooked up to a regular solar system or the main electricity grid. Effectively, it runs on its own self-contained circuit.

    The solar air conditioner consists of three main components:

    There are two points at which you may be able to save with a solar air conditioner:

    Let's compare the costs of installing a 3.5kW solar air conditioner from Solar ACDC to installing a normal solar system and separate aircon unit.

    Solar system + air con

    Solar air conditioner

    1. Estimates are from this calculator.2. Figure is from this site.

    For this comparison, assume that you run your 3.5kW air conditioner for 4 hours every day during all 90 days of summer, keeping it set to 22 degrees Celsius3. Then, if energy from the grid costs 30c/kWh, running an air conditioner on mains power will cost you:

    $0.25 (hourly cost of aircon) x 4 (hours per day) x 90 (days in summer) = $90

    This means your solar aircon will save you about $90 in running costs annually, if you don't have to rely upon mains power. For larger air conditioners, this might stretch up to $200 annually.

    With this in mind, the solar air conditioner will save you about $1,600 on install, and $100 - $200 yearly, for each year you run it. Heating has been excluded from this analysis, since it's most required in late afternoon or evening, after the sun has set and your solar air conditioner is inactive.

    3. Calculations are based on this site.

    While the solar air conditioner is great in concept, there are a few drawbacks to be aware of compared to just using an air conditioner with a normal solar system:

    Solar ACDC claims that some elderly Australians may be able to cover the costs of solar air conditioner installation under the My Aged Care benefits scheme. This scheme is designed to give financial assistance to older Australians who need extra care or services to live safely and independently in their home.

    However, Finder's analysis of the requirements for My Aged Care funding suggests that getting coverage for a solar air conditioner is unlikely at best, and you should check the scheme's requirements before making any financial decisions.

    See the article here:
    Solar air conditioners: How do they work and how much can I save? - finder.com.au

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